A Real Gift

I walk in the door after work, still expecting that Max will be there to greet me; but it is not to be anymore.  This day, however, there is a little black and white cat waiting for me; he is meowing and weaving in and out of my legs.  I guess he is happy to see me!  I walk into my bedroom to change my clothes and he keeps meowing very loud and following me, trying so hard to get in and out of my legs.  I stop and reach down to pick him up and he starts jumping around.  He jumps on the bed, grabs my sock and flies off the bed.

At this point, he is yowling and keeps running toward the hallway and then back to the bedroom.  After watching him do this several times, I believe he is saying, “Follow Me!” in kitty language!  So, I follow this little black fur ball down the hall.  He turns into my office, still yowling and looking back to make sure I am following him.  His tail is all fluffed out and his fur is standing on end.

I walk in the room and stop short…..there waiting for me on the floor of my office is a mouse. At first I think it is Emmet’s toy mouse, but no, this is a real mouse, a real dead mouse, lying upside down.  Emmet walks around it with his tail high in the air.  He is so very proud of this dead creature.  He is purring now, weaving in and out of my legs and then walking around the mouse.  The dead mouse.

I had to get rid of this gift, but didn’t want Emmet to feel bad, so I told him what a great hunter he was, got the pliers, picked up the mouse, put him in a box.  Emmet was still purring and weaving in and out of my legs.  Such a proud hunter!  I took the box and put it outside in the garbage can, all the while hoping there were no more of these little fellows hiding in my house!  I felt confident that if there were, Emmet would hunt them down and take care of them.

When I come back inside, he is waiting for me on the couch.  I sit down and he climbs in my lap.  I congratulate him on his catch and tell him that if there are any more of these real mice in the house, he is welcome to take care of them for me!  He looks at me, lies down and falls asleep in my lap.  Hunting is exhausting!!

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The Paw Print

Had to make my first visit to the Danada Veterinary Hospital since losing Max; Emmet needed his claws trimmed on Saturday morning.  While there, they gave me Max’s clay paw print mold.  It came in a nice little box with the baking instructions on it.  As I sat and waited for Emmet to be done, I thought about that paw print and all the places I will miss seeing it.  I especially missed it that morning in the snow on the deck.  It used to be all Max prints in the snow.  He loved snow and running all over in it!  After playing in the snow, he would come in and get wet paw prints all over the kitchen until I could get him toweled off.  He always ended up stealing the towel I used and ran with it all over the house!  Many winters of stealing towels!

Then of course after winter, came spring…..mud prints!   I used to know wherever he went in the house after he came in and dodged the towel that was waiting to wipe him off!  One particular spring, he decided that rolling in the mud was really fun.  He was covered in it.  I took him in the garage, filled a tub with warm water and before I could get him washed down, he shook and I was covered in mud, too!!  I laughed so hard between the curse words I was muttering under my breath!  I got him cleaned off the best that I could, took him in and gave him shower.  We had a removable shower head, so it worked real fine!!

I came home and took the paw print out of the box; they had also included a lock of Max’s hair in a little plastic bag.  What a thoughtful touch.  I looked at the paw print and thought about how many times I had held that paw and how many times that paw was on my leg comforting me.  I never would have made it through my divorce without Max.  He was there for me every second.  He offered me many comforting paws.  Believe me, I accepted those paws and was so thankful for them.  Those paws got me out of the house walking and getting back into life again.  Max truly was my best friend.

When Max would come in from outside, he would offer me his paw in exchange for a treat.  He was really good at that!  I wonder how many times we shook hands.  I thought back to when I taught him to shake.  He was a puppy and would watch Hobbes when he came in from outside.  Hobbes knew the drill; come in, shake hands, get treat!  Simple!  Max watched Hobbes many times.  I tried for quite a while to get him to shake. I would take his paw and tell him “this is shaking hands, this is what I mean!”  Finally one day he sat there and shook my hand. I probably gave him 3 treats!!  He got it!!  He really got me….he would offer his paw at any time and expect a treat.  He knew I carried them in my pockets!

After baking his paw print and letting it cool, I put it in a special basket on my dresser, right next to Hobbes’ paw print.  Every time I look at it, I will smile; thinking of all the happy times and how lucky I was to have had the dog that belonged to that paw in my life.  Max’s paw print will forever be in my heart.photo(5)paw